Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Come Ye Thankful People Come...

Come, ye thankful people, come,
raise the song of harvest home; 
all is safely gathered in, 
ere the winter storms begin. 
God our Maker doth provide 
for our wants to be supplied; 
come to God's own temple, come,
raise the song of harvest home.
All the world is God's own field, 
fruit as praise to God we yield; 
wheat and tares together sown 
are to joy or sorrow grown; 
first the blade and then the ear, 
then the full corn shall appear; 
Lord of harvest, grant that we 
wholesome grain and pure may be. 
For the Lord our God shall come,
and shall take the harvest home; 
from the field shall in that day 
all offenses purge away, 
giving angels charge at last 
in the fire the tares to cast; 
but the fruitful ears to store 
in the garner evermore. 
Even so, Lord, quickly come,
bring thy final harvest home; 
gather thou thy people in, 
free from sorrow, free from sin, 
there, forever purified, 
in thy presence to abide; 
come, with all thine angels, come, 
raise the glorious harvest home.
Have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thanksgiving Recipes

Hooray - Thanksgiving is almost here! A time of reflection for all of our blessings and a time to spend together with family making wonderful memories.

We get together with my husband's family on this day and although I don't make the turkey, I enjoy making some of the side dishes.  I love to try new recipes and this year will be no different! I plan to take old favorites and try a different twist on them.  So, here are the dishes I will be making this year:

Cranberry-Apple Cider Sauce
  • 3  cups  apple cider
  • 12  ounces  fresh cranberries (about 2 cups)
  • 1  cup  packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2  teaspoon  cinnamon
  • 1/2  teaspoon  allspice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1  medium Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored, cut into 1/4-inch dice


1. In a large saucepan, bring cider to a boil and cook until reduced to 1 cup, about 40 minutes.
2. Combine reduced cider, cranberries, sugar, spices, salt and apple in a medium saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Simmer sauce until thickened and cranberries have popped, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes. (Sauce will thicken more when cool.)
Recipe and photo courtesy of

Florence Mama’s Candied Yams
3 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced crosswise in 1⁄4-inch-thick rounds
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 cinnamon sticks
1⁄2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 orange, thinly sliced into rounds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In an ungreased 2-quart baking dish place sweet potato slices, overlapping slightly and covering the dish. In a saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Cook until sugar is dissolved, then add the orange slices. Pour the mixture over the potatoes, covering the entire surface.
Cover the dish tightly with foil. Bake 40 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Remove foil and bake 20 to 25 minutes more or until top is golden brown. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
Makes 8 to 10 servings + leftovers.
*Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence. Photo courtesy of

Maple-Nut Tart

Your Favorite Pie Crust 

2 large eggs
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pure maple syrup
1 1/2 cups pecan pieces
1 1/2 cups walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 350 F. On lightly floured piece of wax paper or parchment paper, roll dough into 12-inch circle. Carefully fit into 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan, gently lowering dough into bottom and sides of pan without stretching. Roll rolling pin over edge of tart pan to cut off excess dough; set tart shell aside.

In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and salt; whisk in maple syrup. Add nuts, and mix filling to combine. Place tart pan on rimmed baking sheet, and pour in filling. Bake tart until filling is set and crust is slightly golden, 55 to 60 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Remove tart from pan before serving.

Recipe courtesy of Everyday Food

Pumpkin Spice Roll recipe


3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar, divided
3/4 cup  flour
1-1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp.  Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3   eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup  canned pumpkin
1 cup chopped Walnuts
4 oz.  (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) Cream Cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping


HEAT oven to 375°F.
GREASE 15x10x1-inch pan; line with waxed paper. Grease and flour waxed paper. Sprinkle clean towel with 1/4 cup powdered sugar.
MIX flour, spice, baking powder and salt. Beat eggs and sugar in large bowl with mixer on high speed until thickened. Add pumpkin; mix well. Add flour mixture; beat just until blended. Spread onto bottom of prepared pan; sprinkle with nuts.
BAKE 15 min. or until top of cake springs back when touched. Immediately invert cake onto towel; remove pan. Carefully peel off paper. Starting at one short side, roll up cake and towel together. Cool completely on wire rack.
BEAT cream cheese and 1/2 cup powdered sugar in medium bowl with mixer until well blended. Add COOL WHIP; mix well. Carefully unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour. Unwrap and sprinkle with remaining powdered sugar just before serving.

Recipe courtesy of

Linked up at: It's So Very Cheri Party Time
Tuesdays at the Table

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - A Trip Down Memory Lane

We have family that lives near San Francisco and on a trip to see them we also gazed upon the Golden Gate bridge - on a clear day!  I took the photos in B&W and Sepia to give them a neat, vintage look.

Linked up at:

Lovely Photo - Wordless or Not-So-Wordless Wednesday at Aspire

Monday, November 8, 2010

Chocolate Fondant Birthday Cake

I have been intrigued for awhile now about decorating a cake with fondant and wondering if it would turn out as pretty as they always look in pictures, etc. Watching a few episodes of Cake Boss on Netflix made it look so easy! So, since I had a birthday coming up for a wonderful sister, I decided to try it out on her cake. She had asked for chocolate mousse, but I had no experience with that, and didn't want it to turn out to be a total flop when others were expecting a tasty birthday treat!  So, she agreed to a chocolate cake with a mousse-like filling.

I used this recipe from Joy of Cooking for Sour Cream Fudge Cake. It is so moist and delicious!

3 oz unsweetened chocolate (I used 60% chocolate)
1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
6 tbls unsalted butter, softened (3/4 stick)
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 hot water or coffee

Preheat oven to 350. Melt chocolate and set aside.  In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add sour cream and softened butter and beat on high speed for exactly 2 minutes.  Add the melted chocolate, eggs, vanilla and coffee and beat for exactly 2 minutes.  Spread evenly into two floured and greased 8x8 pans or two 9x2 round pans or one 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes for smaller pans or 25 to 30 minutes for 9x13 pan.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thankful Thursday

I'm linking up with Curious Georgi for her weekly Thankful Thursday posts.

So here are my ten things I am thankful for today:

1. I am thankful that God brought me to this verse a couple of days ago when I was quite in need of it: James 5:13

2. I am thankful that God answered my prayers with providing me an answer that I needed.

3. I am thankful that my sister's roof is finally getting fixed before baby arrives in 3 weeks!

4. I am thankful for my darling niece, whose birthday it is today.

5. I am thankful for my wonderful husband who is so helpful and always willing to serve.

6. I am thankful that we have sunny skies again.

7. I am thankful that my first-ever apple pie turned out quite yummy!

8. I am thankful for all the wonderful blogs that provide me with spiritual uplifting and kid's craft/school inspiration and cooking inspiration.

9. I am thankful that things are on the right track in my older sister's life.

10. I am thankful that November is almost here, which means that Thanksgiving is around the corner!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Creamy Pumpkin Smoothie

During this wonderful fall season, I have been baking with pumpkin alot and I find that I have little amounts of pumpkin leftover.  This is a great way to use it all up!

Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens:
1/2 c pumpkin puree
1/2 c vanilla yogurt
1 banana
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
milk, thin to desired consistency

Add all ingredients into the blender and voila - delicious smoothie ready to go!
Recipe serves 2

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

An Inviting Autumn Road

I'm linking up to a fall photo challenge at Aspire because I love all things fall. We took a trip to North Carolina two years ago right when the fall colors were in all their splendid glory and I love to take a trip down memory lane and browse through the photos that we took frequently.  This particular photo wraps up in a variety of ways why I love fall.  Fall beckons you to go outside and experience the season, it invites you to drive down a quiet country road.  The cool gray days make you bring out the hot cocoa and a warm blanket. The colorful leaves ask you to jump in them and take vibrant photos of them.

"Nature is but a name for an effect whose cause is God."

Aspire Photo Challenge

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Weekly Wrap-up...A Few of our Toddler Crafts

Whew...glad the week is over. My youngest son is going through some kind of growth phase and doesn't want to let me out of his sight or reach! But, I still managed to get some crafts done with my older son this week. There isn't any particular theme to them, just fun learning, hands-on activities.

First, we made felt animals. For the fish, I attached it to a plastic ring, tied string to it and then tied it to a pencil.  That's his new fishing pole. You could also attach the felt animals to some cardboard with a little stand behind them, like a picture frame.  I'll probably make more animals each week to add to the collection.

We also made a fall tree using a toilet-paper roll and paper-punched leaves. My son really enjoys his tree and carries it around with him.

Also, I'm just beginning to introduce him to letter recognition. We brought out our alphabet-train puzzle by Melissa and Doug and we matched up letter cookies to the letter on the train. Of course, he had to match up the letters before getting to eat any cookies! It's kind of hard to see, but there are some cookies on the train in this pic.

We did a few other printable sheets emphasizing circles that I found on Kid Zone's website. And that was our week!

Linked up at: preschool corner

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pumpkin-Apple Breakfast Cake

Sorry, I didn't get a picture of the cake, since I gave the last slice away before I could snap a picture of it! This is a delightful fall treat, best served warm with maple syrup drizzled over it. Yum!
Pumpkin-Apple Breakfast Cake
2 small shredded apples
1/2 c applesauce (unsweetened)
1/2 c pumpkin puree
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 c brown sugar
4 beaten eggs
1 c white flour
1 c whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices.  In a separate large bowl, mix eggs, sugar, applesauce, pumpkin puree, oil and apples.  Add the dry ingredients to the apple mixture.  Stir until just mixed.  Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan and bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  

Thursday, October 7, 2010

If You Give A Boy Some Water...

If you were wondering where I've been these last couple of days, I've just been a little busy with my two active little boys.  Yesterday was quite comical actually, so I thought I would share with you a little portion of my day.

If you've never read the children's books If You Give a Cat a Cupcake, If You Take a Mouse to School or If You Give a Pig a Pancake, they are all humorous books about a series of events that happens once you give the animal what they want, then they keep asking for more things. Well, the series of events part is what was so humorous about my day yesterday.

I was washing my hands in the bathroom sink and my older son asks if he can wash his hands too. So, I start to fill up the sink a little bit and turn around to discover my baby son is standing at the toilet trying to put his hands in. I pick him up, turn around to discover the sink is nearly full and my other son has his arms in the water with his sweatshirt sleeves completely wet. As I attempt to pull the drain plug, it breaks. I send both kids out of the bathroom, change my sons shirt and now that the rain has stopped, decide to go outside with them. They are both crying now since baby wanted to play at the toilet and older son wanted to play in the sink. :) Outside, my baby son is standing at the sandbox (he wants to stand up on everything and anything, including using my hair to do so) and I am right there with him, but the split second I look over to my older son, the baby puts sand in his mouth. Sigh, go inside, wash the mouth out at the sink again.  It may not sound that comical when reading it, but it felt like a circus!

Anyways, I hope I have given you a moment of humor!

Sunday, October 3, 2010


My youngest son recently discovered that he now knows how to crawl through his big brother's tunnel.  Boy, did that make him super happy!
Because it is so joyful, I entered this photo in the Aspire Photo Challenge.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Rainy Day Toddler Activities

Well, yesterday was a totally unexpected, stay-inside, rainy day. There was not a drop of rain predicted in the weather forecast. And it rained all day!
  • So, in between a few breaks in the rain, my son #1 put on his rain boots and splashed in the puddles and pretended to fish in them. 
  • Then, we played "grocery store" using play money and play food. 
  • He also fingerpainted a picture of raindrops and lightning flashes.
  • We made paper-chain people. The people in the picture are supposed to be him and his little brother, according to him! (I helped hold the crayon as he drew the face in.)
 Linked up at:

play academy and preschool corner

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Parenting Instruction Manual

Although we are never officially handed an instruction manual the day our first child is born, we can take comfort in that a book exists that provides all the answers we will ever need about raising our children. That book of course is the Bible. The only way we can truly exhibit to our children that we are living God's Way is by this verse:
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, 
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control."
Galatians 5:22

Do we show these fruits to our children? Or do our lives reflect any hatred, jealousy, impatience, bitterness.  Children are much more perceptive than we realize!

"Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it."
Proverbs 22:6

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Last Reminder of Lazy Summer Days

Lovely Photo - Wordless or Not-So-Wordless Wednesday at Aspire

German Chocolate Creamcheese Cake

My husband has a sweet tooth for German Chocolate Cake. I'll be talking to him at work and he'll say, "Well, I better let you get back to making my German Chocolate Cake". So, I am always on the search for creative and quicker ways to make GCC.  I try to make the completely-from-scratch version near his birthday or our anniversary, but it is kind of a time-consuming dessert! I was very pleased to find a new recipe that was fairly quick and just as scrumptious! It uses GCC box mix but also has a layer of cheesecake in between. Yum! The recipe is listed on and was submitted by a user on her site.  Here is the recipe:

1 package (18 1/4 oz) German Chocolate cake mix

Cream Cheese Filling:
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter, cubed (not margarine)
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups flaked coconut
1-1/2 cup chopped pecans


Prepare cake batter according to package directions; set aside. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour half of the cake batter into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Gently pour cream cheese mixture over batter. Gently spoon remaining batter over top; spread to edge of pan. Bake at 325° for 70-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. For frosting, in a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, milk, butter and egg yolks .Cook and stir over medium-low heat until thickened and a thermometer reads 160° or is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from the heat. Stir in vanilla; fold in coconut and pecans. Cool until frosting reaches spreading consistency. Frost cooled cake. Refrigerate leftovers. 

Linked up at: Beauty and Bedlam

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Photo Challenge!

I captured this photo of son #1 when he was busily working on his train set and stopped for a minute to give a very contemplative look at me.  He has these serious moments when he is lost in thought and I am happy to have a memory to forever cherish of this part of his personality.  I have entered this photo in the Black & White Photo Challenge at Aspire.

Aspire Photo Challenge

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Toddler Fall Crafts

To teach my son about the changing of the seasons, we have been working on crafts together that highlight the main aspects of fall.

 This is our apple painting.  We took an apple, cut it in half and then dipped it in paint and then we added the stem with a paintbrush.

This leaf mobile looks delightful outside when there's a nice breeze to blow the leaves.  Super easy to make, just hot glue the craft sticks together and then hot glue strings to each end of the sticks. We used fake leaves of course so the mobile will last!

Finally, we went for a walk to find the few fall leaves that we could muster up, since where we live, we don't have many leaves that change color.  Thankfully, the liquid amber tree produced some pretty leaves for us! To preserve these neat leaves, we placed them on a sheet of construction paper and cut out Con-Tact paper to match the size of the construction paper and placed it over the leaves.

These are just a few simple little projects to engage the little ones in learning activities.  We've also read a couple of books that relate to autumn. Four Seasons by Stan and Jan Berenstain and How Do Apples Grow by Betsy Maestro are good toddler reads.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Few Fun Fall Foodies...

Whew. That was a tongue twister!  Well, we've started our fall baking and here are a few of the things we've made recently.

Pumpkin and Apple Lollipops - oh boy, did the kids ever think this was neat! They are so incredibly easy to make. Click here for instructions on how to make them.

Pumpkin Apple Butter - I've never made pumpkin butter before, so I thought I would give it a try this year.  I went with Libby's recipe on their website for starters. It wasn't quite as gooey/sticky as I was hoping it would be, so I'll keep looking for more recipes.

Rice Krispies Leaves Treats - Another kid-friendly recipe, which I found on Rice-Krispies' website. I used my leaf cookie cutters and shaped them and then decorated with gel and sprinkles.

And today, I will be trying out this recipe for Apple Cinnamon Turnovers.  A very quick and easy recipe that my toddler can help me with.

Linked up at Tuesdays-at-the-Table

Monday, September 20, 2010

There's Nothing Quite Like...

There's nothing quite like...the crisp fresh air that only belongs to autumn.

There's nothing quite like...the golden afternoon sun hitting low on the changing trees.

There's nothing quite like...the smell of burning leaves.

There's nothing quite like...jumping in a pile of leaves.

There's nothing quite like...the delightful taste of pumpkin.

There's nothing quite like...FALL!!!!!

Welcome to Fall Week!! I'll be sharing with you how we welcome this season into our home through cooking and crafts.  I started out the week so far by bringing out my fall decorations and by making pumpkin-apple butter, which is great on a variety of foods.  I discovered it tastes great on cream-of-wheat yesterday. I have several fall toddler crafts planned too, which I will post pictures of as we complete them.


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